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More Information on Moving Forward with NIH Applications, Review, and Awards

UPDATE: Please see Dr. Rockey’s October 22 blog post “Change in Plans – Revised Schedule for Cancelled Review Meetings” about the new plan for rescheduling review meetings cancelled due to the Federal shutdown. -Rock Talk Blog Team, 10.24.2013

As promised yesterday, I’m posting additional information on our efforts to restore the NIH extramural program. First, some context: the 16-day delay in operations had a major impact on our business of supporting extramural research. While our grantees could continue conducting vital research through their FY 2013 awards, NIH could not release any awards while we were closed. The beginning of October is traditionally one of our busiest times for receiving and reviewing applications. Because of the shut-down, over 200 review meetings had to be canceled and thousands of reviewers had to change their travel plans. More than 11,000 applications were affected by these cancellations. The shut-down also affected many of our major deadlines, including the October R01 deadline. Due to the shut-down timing, it is extraordinarily complex to reschedule all these deadlines and reviews.  We have just published a Guide notice explaining how we will proceed.

One priority is to make sure that we can receive applications for the due dates that were missed in October. Today’s notice provides the specifics of how all October due dates will move to November so that applicants can have the NIH support they need while developing and submitting their applications. Note that existing November grant application deadlines will not change.

If you submitted an application after October 1 to grants.gov, it will be processed by NIH when we make eRA systems available to you on Monday, October 21. Since all October application due dates are moving to November, however, we want to be sure that people who submitted early or during the period of the shut-down are not penalized. So, we are providing those of you who already submitted applications for the October deadlines the opportunity to replace the submission with a refreshed application, if you so desire. Details on how to do this and the timing are explained in the Guide notice.

The volume of missed review meetings severely complicates catching up with our normal awards cycle. Many reviewers have contacted us expressing their willingness to put in the extra effort now to make the reviews happen this cycle. However, it is impossible to manage the logistics of rescheduling hundreds of review meetings in the next six or so weeks. Thus, many meetings will need to be rescheduled for peer review in February/March, and those applications will be reassigned to the May council. I’m grateful to the reviewers for the work they have already done in preparing for the cancelled review meetings and for their willingness to pitch in during these difficult times.

We do want to be as fair as possible to our applicants (in a situation that I know feels completely unfair).  So if you had an application going to an October review meeting that is being reassigned to May council, you will have the option of allowing the current application go forward as-is, or withdrawing and submitting a refreshed application. If you choose to replace your application, please follow the instructions in today’s Guide notice carefully.

This is a far from an ideal situation as it pushes out award decisions for many applicants and it will be double-duty for many reviewers in the next cycle. But, we believe this is the most manageable and equitable approach. So to the reviewers who are going the extra mile during this crunch time in support of the biomedical enterprise, I thank you. NIH thanks you. And to our applicants who are going to have their reviews delayed, I am sorry for this situation and greatly appreciate your patience and understanding.

57 thoughts on “More Information on Moving Forward with NIH Applications, Review, and Awards

  1. I understand the difficulties with rescheduling many study sections. On the other hand, it seems very unfair to delay the funding of those proposals lucky enough to successfully navigate through the difficult review process by three months. It may also lower the probably of funding of any proposal submitted in June/July or October/November since there will be an increased load on the May council. My suggestion would be to move the January council meetings to end of March so that those grants that were missed during the government shutdown can be considered with those fortunate enough to be scheduled for review after October 18th. As a former member of NIDCR council, I think that it would be easier to reschedule a council meeting than many study sections. I hope you will consider it.

  2. In my opinion this is a terrible decision that only compounds the problem. Not only will grants submitted in June/July only have a short window to be revised, but doing so will also lead to increased grant administrator time helping to submit them. All grants submitted in these two cycles will be negatively affected as reviewers will be overwhelmed. Surely, the study sections that were scheduled for the first week of October could be rescheduled – the Read phase had already started and most of the work already done by reviewers.

    Another thing to consider is the effect on reviewers in November study sections. If you have a June grant that needs revision, but are also on study section in November, which do you choose to do? Do you look out for yourself or do you sacrifice your grant to do a better job on reviews? There is a terrible conflict of interest in this policy.

    I echo the comments above. The extramural community is willing to work harder to help resolve this mess if you give us a chance. In my opinion, postponing an entire review cycle will be disasterous.

  3. I suggest you postpone the November grant deadlines 2 weeks for many of the reasons you are postponing the October grant deadlines.

    • I think the renewal deadline should be extended as a minimum to match the new submission deadline, i.e. November 12th. For example some grants that were due on the 17th of October are now due on November 1st, which makes it very hard to turn around and submit a renewal grant in 4 days, i.e. on November 5th. We appreciate the amount of work and disruption that this stupid shutdown caused to the NIH and we are so thankful for their efforts, but please extend the deadline for the renewal grants scheduled in November. Thanks so much.

  4. I agree. Delaying funding en masse will create noticeable funding dips at high-volume research institutions. Individual researchers will be hurt. Part of the argument against a shutdown was that research delays would harm the research pipeline. Now twelve lost work days is being translated into a 4 month delay for some, but not others. The likelihood of inequities is great. Please reconsider delaying the council meetings and rescheduling as many study sections as possible. NIH has been using alternative review strategies and these should work well at this time. I’m sure the research community, who rely on you and on whom you rely, will be ready to do their part to keep things on track.

  5. I agree with Marianne Bronner’s comment and suggestion. It is going to be difficult for all of us, but for those of us with proposals that were supposed to be reviewed in October, the most fair course would seem to be to review this first, before proposals that were submitted later (and would have been reviewed in January or after). As a former member of the BDMA study section and an ad hoc or chair of many other NIH panels, I know it’s difficult to re-schedule, but we’re all willing to work with NIH to catch up.
    Offering the opportunity to withdraw and re-submit is a terrible option, though I’m sure it is well intended. This would require a furious additional effort on grants that were, in most cases, already the product of a great deal of work.
    I hope you’ll consider Dr. Bronner’s suggestion (and mine) to process the grants that are waiting in the queue in order, as best as possible. As reviewers, we in the external community will do all we can to help.
    Steven Salzberg
    Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

  6. Is this not going to affect Nov 5th deadlines? One of the reasons that the Oct 5th deadline has been moved is because researchers could not interact with NIH staff, for what amounted to 4 days prior to the due date. I would argue that grants due Nov 5th are just as impacted by the shutdown, if not more so, as we have not had the staff available for 16 days. Personally, I have 6 business days until my grant is due to research management at my institution. Given how busy the program officers are, it is going to be difficult to get their input in a timely manner.

  7. Please reconsider the decision to cancel all R01 reviews for this cycle. My IRG was scheduled to meet on Oct 3/4, so the decision on my application has really been made (for the most part, anyway). Receiving a decision in this cycle will provide me the opportunity to resubmit my application in March, for review in July. However, if all reviews are cancelled for this round, it may be career-ending for many scientists who are relying on a fundable score for contract renewal in July.

    • I want to echo the concern that the consequences of this decision could very well be career-ending for those of us who are in need of external funding for re-appointment. I am on the tenure-track and have been re-appointed for 3 more years, but due to the terrible funding and economic environment of academic medical centers, my salary & lab funding is dependent on the funding of my R01 renewal application, which now is not scheduled to be reviewed until June, which will be too late for me.

      • I couldn’t agree more. This catastrophic situation should also be made more public. And most alarmingly, the next budget debate with coincide with the next NIH funding cycle!

        • Agreed,

          I had budgeted nearly perfectly assuming my A1 would be a solid improvement of my A0 (which was a high, but bubble score) and would result in a fundable score. This delay means I am issuing pink slips next week if it isn’t revised, and my chair is saying to me (after 16 years of 90% plus funded effort, tenure track professor) that I am “done”. This whole business has gone crazy.

    • Could not agree more, careers of many are depending on this review cycle. Please consider rescheduling the October review soon.

    • Several comments have been left regarding the Nov 5th deadline: noting that it should be pushed back a bit as well. I concur. The Nov 5th deadline should be pushed back a week or two for the same reasons as the all the Oct deadline were.

  8. I am really surprised by this decision. The delay of 4 months is really going to have an impact here. I have young scientists working hard in my lab, and the A1 we submitted in July was the result of a lot of hard work. It was timed, in part, so I would be able to plan to renew contracts or not, depending on the score. I know there is never a guarantee, but I was counting on a review. There will be more than 6 months between submission and study section. I will have to make a decision to not renew a promising bright young postdoc- not because of lack of funding, but because I won’t even know if I will have funding. It feels unfair.

    • I agree completely. As a new-ish PI, I timed my June 5 application so that I could know scores and make decisions about personnel this winter. Now, with a lack of info or feedback, I am faced with laying off a promising post-doc. I realize that a review does NOT mean I will get funded, but I had counted on making this decision based on a review outcome (rather than a lack of review altogether!). I understand that the NIH is in a difficult and very unenviable decision, and that it is not your fault. But it seems that reviewers are willing to give this a shot. Please, please reconsider this decision. I don’t normally love the idea of having a study section meet by teleconference…but, it is certainly preferable to Feb/March! Please, let SRO’s and reviewers give this a shot whenever possible.

  9. Like everyone else, I don’t like the decision on moving the review to Feb/Mar. There seems to be unknown variables in May Council Round. Would the NIH reduce the quota of the fundable grants in January Council Round, and increase the quota in May Council Round? In other words, would the percentile funding cutoff be significantly higher in May to compensate for the increase of number of applications?

  10. Several years ago, an extra submission was allowed in response to a major reorganization of the study sections. Since this was during the time that A2 submissions were still allowed, it actually provided an A3 opportunity. Perhaps the NIH would consider this policy again, allowing grants that are delayed a cycle due to the govt shutdown to receive an A2 submission opportunity. While it may not benefit researchers who are against shorter term time pressures for funding, tenure, or reappointment, it would at least benefit investigators facing increased competition due to the missed review cycle.

  11. The shutdown was clearly beyond the control of the NIH. But the proposed solution to group review of June/July applications with Oct/Nov applications (in February 2014) seems to be an overly conservative approach that will have a negative impact on TWO rounds of applications. Furthermore, what if the government is shut down again when the debt ceiling issue is revisited in February? I’ve grown to expect pushing of problems down the road from Washington DC, but I expect much better from Bethesda, MD.

    To those in the NIH who are weighing the options — I implore you to come up with a better solution to this problem. I know you are all working hard to make the best of this situation. Please accept the input and offers of assistance from the research community so that we can minimize the negative impact that recent political gamesmanship is having on careers and research productivity.

    Sincerely,
    Sean Marrelli

  12. I echo the previous comments urging at least an attempt to reschedule the meetings that were missed during the shutdown. Many of us worked round the clock to meet the June deadlines to ensure the proper timing to avoid funding gaps. The idea that just over two weeks of a shutdown would result in the potential for a four month funding gap for many young researchers is devastating. I strongly urge you to consider alternatives to this scheduling.

    There is also a lot of concern about overwhelming the review meetings and council meetings by essentially combining two rounds of submission. Furthermore, the bill to continue funding to restart the government expires on February 7th, meaning that the rescheduled review meetings would be at risk should this happen again. Rescheduling the meetings missed ahead of this date will ensure that we will not suffer further delays.

    • Just noticed that the funding actually expires January 15, which makes it even more important to get these reviews in before the risk of another shutdown.

  13. I agree with all of the above comments. We all know, as part of what we do, that when it comes to crunch time you just need to push through to the end and get it done. Pushing off the review cycle until Feb/Mar will be a hardship all the way around. And, although there seems to be some assurances that there will not be another shutdown, the next debate of this issue is right at the next cycle.

    It would be helpful if Sally could be more specific on several things. Will some missed panels be rescheduled sooner? For those applications being pushed off, will they be reviewed as a separate cohort or lumped in with the next cycle? Will the pay levels reflect the larger (likely doubled) number of applications? Is it reasonable to expect that reviewers who are already reading ~10 proposals will be able to adequately, and fairly, review ~20? Will they be increasing the panel sizes with more ad hocs?

  14. This is a terrible decision and reflects what is wrong with the NIH review process. First, we reduced the number of submissions to two in the name of efficient review. Then NIH has overall reduced the number of reviewers in permanent study sections. Supposedly, it saves money! It does not matter whether you have expertise available for the specific system. This way certain research areas are getting priorities. And now, postponement! If the reviewers are available and willing to do the extra work, why not conduct the review. Even if the reviews get delayed by one month, it will be better than postponing it to the next cycle. I wonder how many PIs are in the last year of their funding and will have to take the hard decision of firing their personnel.
    While it is very easy to kick the can to the other side, it is difficult to put in the effort to maintain the regularity (slight delay in this case) of the review process. May be the NIH honchos can address the logic of this decision, rather than resorting to the often used unfortunate term “sanctity and fairness of the review process. If anything is not fair it is this decision.

  15. I tend to agree with the thoughts/comments posted in the blog. One of the things that worries me is the fact that the continuing resolution seems to end by December 15th 2013, which is the activity associated to government funding. Debt ceiling deadline is scheduled by February 7th, but this activity was not the original cause for the shutdown we just experienced. Consequently, a potential for a disruptive shutdown might be around the corner, and it would be interesting to keep this in mind when the different meetings are scheduled.

  16. I don’t personally have an application pending review in October, but with American science facing such a huge funding crisis overall, everything possible should be done to avoid the four-month lapse in new funding. In terms of funding flow, this is “lost” money. Some careers will end because of the prolongation of unfunded periods. Some post-doc and technician positions will not be created. This all adds up — the human infrastructure if American science is gradually eroding. The scientific community managed to review a much larger number of applications for ARRA. Surely we could manage to get the October grants reviewed in time.

  17. What a waste! The reviewers of the canceled October sessions have, in all likelihood, already completed most of their reviews. Now, in the name of well-intentioned fairness, the NIH will allow the June/July submitters to “refresh” their applications (in essence, withdraw, modify and resubmit). All of the precious reviewer’s time will thus have been completely wasted! To compound the insanity, many of those same reviewers will be burdened with twice the applications in the next cycle.

  18. I agree completely with many of the above comments. Pushing the review cycle until Feb/March is going to be disastrous for so many people. I would echo the posts from people who pushed hard to meet the June deadlines in order to leave time for the (necessary) resubmit and not lose funding. I’m one of the young scientists whose career could very well end from this…

  19. There is another unintended consequence of pushing the Oct/Nov round of study sections back to February. With so many PIs submitting grants every cycle to the same study section, many applications will be directly competing against an application from the same lab. Furthermore, the sequester already reduced R56 bridge funding R56 opportunities, so an added 4 month gap in potential funding is going to be devastating for labs at institutions without the internal resources to cover the gaps.

  20. What about the October advisory council meetings? My grant was peer reviewed in June and 10/17 was the scheduled council meeting. I’m confused by NOT-OD-14-003, which says, “Applications that were reviewed before the shutdown will go to January council as originally planned”. Does that mean I’m now waiting until January (or later), or will the October advisory council meetings be rescheduled for sooner than that? I’m in that strange limbo known as “postdoc”, so a few months here or there will make a big difference in my plans. Thanks in advance for any insights…

  21. I agree with all the above comments. This is a long delay of 4 months which will particularly hit researchers very hard and will end many careers. Please reconsider.
    Years of work go into these grants and if the reviewers are willing to reschedule the missed meetings – there is some hope!! How will so many extra grants be judged for the February review meeting and May council meeting ? This cannot work fairly

  22. It is not sensible to leave the Nov 5 due date for revised R01 applications in place when new applications are accepted 2 weeks later. The revised applications are generally due one month later than the new ones because they do not need consideration for assignment to review groups. The Nov 5 date for revised applications should be moved to at least a couple of weeks after Nov 18.

  23. I echo all the statements above, which state a lot of what I’ve been thinking, and do so eloquently and passionately. I would like to add my own experience as a new investigator, which is probably similar to many other new labs. At the end of this posting, I would also like to propose a partial solution that is imperfect and incomplete, but I believe still better than what we are undergoing now.

    In brief, our lab has been in existence 3 years at an east coast medical school. We have several small NIH grants and I had just submitted our first R01 this past June. We are a small lab, and worked our butts off for a year to get our R01 submitted. We canceled vacations and spent sleepless nights getting this submitted on the schedule we needed to avoid funding gaps. I knew we didn’t want to delay submission until October because that would be pushing too close to when our current 2-year grants expire. After all our sweat and sacrifice, I think we ended up with a pretty good grant. Depending on the score we would have gotten, we had planned to spend this winter addressing reviewer comments for a possible February resubmission. With a small lab and limited budget, we need to put all our efforts into this R01, and are now unable to do this because we have no idea what the comments are, and/or whether the grant is good enough to be funded in its current state. We now have two options: (1) continue to work on this grant, possibly wasting precious resources if the new work is unnecessary, or not in the directions recommended by peer review, or (2) work on our next R01, which will require a massive redirection of limited resources. Neither is an efficient use of what remains of our existing grants. Indeed, by the time we get comments in March or so, I will be within weeks of having to let go the very personnel needed to help us run any new experiments. This is a Catch-22 of simply bizarre dimensions.

    I know there is no ideal solution. Clearly the NIH has decided not to reschedule 200 or so study sections for the near future. While established investigators with multiple grants and/or tenured status at their institutions can weather the delay, most of my junior colleagues are in precarious situations. And as others have pointed out, there remains the possibility that the government will shut down again around the time of the next review cycle. This would create a two-cycle backlog that would be harmful to everybody, but absolutely fatal to many smaller labs and newer investigators. To mitigate this possibility, I would hope the NIH could conduct study sessions this November that are dedicated to the small proportion of grants that are new/early investigator applications. Such abbreviated meetings could be conducted very quickly by conference call. In many cases, the reviewers had already submitted their comments before the shutdown. Hence, most of the reviewing work is ALREADY DONE. These abbreviated meetings would be massively helpful to scientists who would otherwise shut down nascent labs or leave science altogether. These meetings would have the additional benefit of reducing the size of the onerous February/March study sections presumably coming down the pike. BOTH the reviewers AND reviewees would appreciate this.

    I can appreciate that the NIH wants to be fair to everybody, and not favor one group over another. But by hurting everybody equally, new investigators are harmed disproportionately, and it seems to me that a better solution must be possible. With all due respect to my esteemed senior scientific colleagues, I have watched my younger colleagues pour an enormous amount of creative energy and passion, virtually every waking hour of their lives, 7 days a week, including weekends and holidays, into setting up their labs aimed at solving some of the hardest problems in science. With all this collective effort on the line, I find it hard to believe that the NIH leadership can’t find a better solution than the abysmal outcome that has transpired so far. As others have noted, the scientific community is more than willing and able to step up to the plate and help out, but the NIH needs to set a better framework for a solution that doesn’t simply involve punting the problem into next year.

    Thank you for reading this all the way to the end. I unfortunately am convinced that this letter, and the others on this page, will have almost zero chance of producing any measurable effect. But I appreciate anyone with the patience to read the comments on this page and appreciate even more any possible solutions.

  24. I urge you to reconsider this decision. This really hurts the scientists who put in grants for this October review cycle. In addition to the time lost, I think it would be difficult to have a fair review with so many applications built up.

  25. I wanted to add another request to push back the Nov 5 R01 resubmission/renewal deadline. My submission requires communications with CSR prior to submission. This had been discussed with my PO months ago, but is difficult to accomplish now with a shortened window and with CSR in a frenzy to reschedule study sections and sort out the new schedule. I recognize the immense workload that SRO’s have and I commend them for their communication and nimbleness as NIH has come back online. I would suggest that the Nov. 5 deadline be delayed so that investigators who have questions that need to be addressed before that deadline have a shot to have them reasonably addressed without this turmoil.

  26. I completely agree with the above comments. Because of the 4-5 month delay in grant reviews, I will have to shut down my lab. I know that the shutdown made things very complicated for NIH, but this postponement has very real implications for the state of science in this country. *Every* early stage investigator that I have spoken with in the past couple of weeks has decided that NIH-funding is “not worth it” – first because of the shutdown effects and now reinforced by this decision made by NIH. Many have started looking for industry or teaching jobs instead. The scientific field will be losing some of its most precious young talent due to this one decision – a decision that, frankly, only delays the problem rather than solves it. As a mid-career professional who is completely reliant on external funding for my position, I am also looking at a career change as are my staff. While we are devoted to researching the particular public health issue involved in our work and would love nothing more than to contribute our efforts to this cause for the rest of our careers, this one decision by NIH severely hampers our ability to continue our work due to the timing concerns already described by so many other commenters. My own situation aside, I am deeply concerned about the long-term effects of this decision. I truly believe that it will serve as one more factor that seriously undermines the future of science in this country. Please reconsider this decision.

    • I am certainly shutting my lab down if this moves forward and letting go 2 senior people that I will have no hope of rehiring. And even as a senior tenured investigator my job is at risk.

  27. As with all the other investigators who have replied, I believe this is a terrible decision that is going to have a number of far-reaching negative consequences for both established and young investigators. Although I fortunately do not run the risk of having my lab shut down or losing personnel, this decision will have a negative impact on my salary negotiations in 2014. I doubt our expressed displeasure will have any impact on NIH’s position; however, at the very least, I would hope that NIH would provide more of a rationale for this decision. Without a detailed justification for this decision, It is hard to imagine how this outcome was the best possible solution.

  28. Among other things, this comment thread further emphasizes the fact that it is looooong past time for the NIH to recognize the current reality. Many supposedly extramural scientists work for the NIH in all ways that matter. There is no safety net. There is no alternative source of support. And jobs, no matter the cover story, depend on the award of NIH grants.

    It is consequently imperative for the NIH to act like it understands these aspects of the decision making. Delays, gaps and choices to Bridge or not to Bridge affect your *employees*, much as you would like to pretend it has nothing to do with you. Similarly, the overproduction pipeline for PhDs is *your* issue, not something that you can wash your hands of and blame the Universities.

  29. I concur with all of the above comments, and plan to contact my elected official(s) in hopes of prompting a reconsider of this policy.

  30. As the review sessions are being rescheduled, can we also get an update on the October council meetings?

  31. I will add my voice to those above as a “young” scientist for which pushing this review back will most likely be harmful to my career. Funding is running out, and losing four months and an entire cycle (and resubmission opportunity) could be devastating to my lab.

  32. I want to echo the comments relating to the harm that this decision is doing to new investigators. I submitted my first R01 application in June and truly need reviewers’ critiques to know if our research direction is fundable by the NIH. Of course, I think we’re doing important science, but the reality is that we can’t continue on this path without NIH backing. We have limited resources and it’s enormously frustrating and potentially career-ending for me to put another four months of time, startup funds, and energy into a project that we may not ultimately be able to continue.

  33. Delaying review and council decisions will not close down my lab, but it may mean the loss of a highly skilled technician. It took two years to get him to this point of productivity and expertise. If I have to hire a new one, it’s going to take another two years to get back to this point. The university seems preoccupied with keeping older, established professors afloat. I just can’t afford that kind of down time in this terrible funding climate. If I now have to spend most of my time chasing money, there is no time for me to run histology experiments without technical help. So instead of losing my job now, I will lose it a year or so down the road when I need my next big grant to start. This decision to delay review is going to be catastrophic for many young PIs. We’re going to lose our edge (and many of our scientists) to other countries who are investing more in science.

  34. Can CSR do all of us a favor and explain the rationale for lumping all the affected meetings with the Feb/March meetings? It can’t just be convenience since I imagine the logistics of re-reviewing these grants most of which will be pulled and resubmitted is not trivial. This decision is especially puzzling since some study sections already finished their meetings prior to the shutdown and hence were not affected. Surely, this is going to create all kinds of disparities and discrepancies in funding between applications that were fortunate to get reviewed this round and those that did not. NIH needs to be more transparent about how this manipulation is going to impact paylines.

  35. I also implore CSR to reconsider their decision to delay the review of most applications to next year. It has an unfair impact on those applications being reviewed at the May Council meetings. Will additional funds be set aside for this round of applications since there will likely be twice as many applications? The decision by NIH is making a bad situation worse for investigators.

  36. Some study section meetings that were cancelled are now going to occur. It would be nice to get a new notice to help us know how to proceed.

  37. Add my voice to the growing chorus of those in the scientific community urging NIH to reconsider this decision. And please, in fairness, extend the Nov 5 deadline for resubmissions. I can understand that NIH wants to get this mess behind them. But the Nov 5 deadline could at least be extended to the same deadline as the new applications. Many of us lost valuable time in which we could not get feedback from Project Officers, and these Project Officers are understandably swamped right now dealing with the aftermath of the shutdown.

  38. Add me to the chorus of PIs who are dumbfounded by the decision to scrap an entire funding cycle because of a 2 week interruption at NIH. And please do not sugar-coat this as a ‘lumping together’ of two review cycles or by telling us that we have the opportunity to ‘refresh’ our application. It is a complete wipe-out of our June submissions, plain and simple. As an ESI who almost went crazy putting together 2 different R01s in June, and patiently waited for over 5 months to receive some written feedback to guide a planned resubmission, I cannot begin to fathom how this ‘fix’ can be considered the least bit fair. To top it off, I have been robbed of 6 months of ESI status, as my eligibility is set to run out next year (I will be petitioning for an extension and would certainly hope that NIH adjusts the eligibility window for anyone affected, even indirectly).

    I agree with numerous other commenters who point out that this situation (and especially the proposed ‘solution’) disproportionately affects young investigators who are already under tremendous tenure-clock pressure. One cycle is a sizable chunk of an Assistant Professor’s career. We cannot just settle for a ‘throw-away’ review cycle. To make matters worse, the vast majority of reviews had already been written. Colleagues have already gone (and continue to go) the extra mile to make things right. Reviewers work days, nights, and weekends, undeterred by the shutdown, donating their time to help NIH run smoothly and to keep the process going. Most are even now clamoring to come back and get it done in November. And now NIH simply doesn’t want the headache of rescheduling on short notice? At the very least, June applicants should be allowed to receive written comments. Something.

    How many people have to post here until there is an acknowledgement from the powers that be? All 11,000 affected applicants? How overwhelming does the majority opinion have to be? I will be encouraging all my colleagues to post here so that we can get some sort of response.

    P.S. – Can someone also please tell me what the point of putting eRA commons back up is if there is no further information on rescheduled review panels or even on the status of applications that recently underwent review. Even if the details are not finalized, can we get some basic information, like which particular panels are slated for re-schedule/cancellation, or which grants were reviewed as planned, etc. I understand that NIH must be a bit swamped right now, but we’re 4 days out of the shutdown and there is essentially radio silence save the frustratingly unspecific NOT published last friday.

  39. I am in complete agreement with the posts above. Skipping one whole funding cycle will have a significant impact in our labs which are already struggling to survive in this terrible funding climate. Please reconsider the decision to not discuss grants that were already reviewed.

  40. I also want to register my objection to NIH’s decision to cancel the entire grant cycle. This decision hurts the career of PIs at all levels. After getting my first R01, I am not eligible for grants that target junior faculty any more. I am being treated as “established” investigator. My startup fund will end soon. R01 is almost my only option right now. My lab members and I worked seven days a week on our R01 submitted with the June deadline. Now everything is wiped out. My lab will have to have a personnel cut next year, despite our productivity in publication.

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